Excerpts from President Bush's Radio Address on June 30, 2007:
"On the Fourth of July we celebrate the courage and convictions of America's founders. We remember the spirit of liberty that led men from 13 different colonies to gather in Philadelphia and pen the Declaration of Independence. In that revolutionary document, they proclaimed our independence based on the belief that freedom was God's gift to all mankind.
To defend that freedom, the 56 signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Their sacrifices built a new Nation and created a future of freedom for millions yet to be born.
Today, a new generation of Americans has stepped forward and volunteered to defend the ideals of our Nation's founding. Around the world, our brave men and women in uniform are facing danger to protect their fellow citizens from harm. In Afghanistan, our military and NATO forces are hunting down the Taliban and al Qaeda, and helping the Afghan people defend their young democracy. And in Iraq, American and Iraqi forces are standing with the nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and opposing ruthless enemies who want to bring down Iraq's democracy and turn that nation into a terrorist safe haven.
The fight in Iraq has been tough, and it will remain difficult. We've lost good men and women in this fight. One of those lost was a Marine Lance Corporal named Luke Yepsen. In the spring of 2005, Luke withdrew from his classes at Texas A&M to join the United States Marines. And in October 2006, he deployed to Iraq, where he manned a 50-caliber machine gun on a Humvee. Six months ago, Luke was killed by a sniper while on patrol in Anbar province. Luke's father describes his son's sacrifice this way: "Luke died bringing freedom to an oppressed people. My urgent request is ... finish the mission. Bring freedom to the Iraqi people."
On this Fourth of July, we remember Luke Yepsen and all the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in this struggle. They've helped bring freedom to the Iraqi people. They've helped make Americans more secure. We will not forget their sacrifice. We remember their loved ones in our prayers. And we give thanks for all those from every generation who have defended our Nation and our freedoms."